Earwax, or cerumen, is necessary to protect the skin of the ear canal and to trap bacteria and dust. Wax normally works its way out of the ear without help. But sometimes too much wax is produced, or objects such as hearing aids or earbuds prevent wax from being expelled. When the earwax hardens and lodges in the ear canal, this is called cerumen impaction, which can lead to hearing loss, discomfort and ringing in the ears.
Using drops to soften the earwax is a helpful way to treat this condition. This breaks the wax into smaller pieces, enabling it to come out on its own. Irrigation with water is sometimes needed to fully clear out the excess wax. Although hydrogen peroxide is a common home remedy, the effectiveness of different types of drops has been a subject of research. A review published in the January 2009 issue of "The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews" summarized that any type of drops -- including hydrogen peroxide -- can be helpful in removing wax.
Lie on your side with the impacted ear facing the ceiling. If it is difficult for you to reach your ear this way, ask a friend or family member to put the drops in your ear.
Using an eyedropper, place 3 to 4 drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear. Remain on your side for at least 5 minutes. This allows sufficient time for the hydrogen peroxide to penetrate the wax.
As you sit up, use a tissue to wipe away any drops that flow from your ears. Don't expect the wax to come out right away. You may need to repeat this process for several days to achieve results.
If after several days your earwax impaction is not resolving, you can gently irrigate your ears with warm water. Fill a clean bulb syringe with warm water and gently squeeze the bulb to force water into the ear. The force of the water should break up the softened wax and bring chunks out of the ear with the water. If you are not seeing or feeling results, see your doctor for earwax removal.